July 11, 2010

Getting Knocked Up: Your Guide to IVF

So, you or your loved one has cancer. By following a few simple steps, you can ensure your future fertility and procreative prowess. Just take a deep breath, relax, and do exactly as you are told.

Step one: Remove your pants.
You'll be surprised how much easier this whole thing will be if you're pantsless. You'll be asked about seven thousand times in the next months and years to remove them, so you might as well just keep them off to save yourself the time and frustration that those pesky buttons might cause. If you choose to keep your pants on, be prepared to remove them in any number of unexpected situations. In waiting rooms, for example.

Step two: Preserve your grubling goo.
This is more complicated for women then for men, so I'll start with those of you with extra chromosomes. If you are a man, preserving your fertility is as easy as ejaculating. Well, into a cup. And you can't ejaculate for a few days prior. And you've only got a week before your doctors start pumping your full of drugs and radiation that will mutate your sperm. So hurry it up already.
Women, unfortunately you are not so easy to preserve for posterity. You will have to undergo several treatments. The first is to stop you from ovulating, the second is to make you produce insane numbers of eggs all at once, and the last is to surgically remove those eggs and freeze them. This is as simple as it sounds, simply inject drug A into your fatty parts twice daily for one to two weeks, and then inject drug B into your less fatty parts once daily for four weeks. Be careful not to get sick because you can't take antibiotics! And don't forget to take antibiotics before your egg retrieval!

Step three: Get ready for some grublings.
Now comes the fun part! Have lots of sex!
Just kidding. No sex. The female partner is on crazy fertility drugs, and the LAST thing you want to do is screw up all this hard work of getting pregnant by accidentally getting pregnant. So stop having fun.
Now, the leg work. You will have to fill out your weight in paperwork, regarding all plausible and even implausible situations your frozen progeny might find themselves in. What happens if you get divorced? Die? If one of you dies and the other is permanently brain damaged? What happens to the embryos if you're abducted by aliens? Who gets the embryos if your kids want to bear their own siblings? Oh, and you must acknowledge that the clinic will dispose of your embryos in five years.

Next, doctors! You will be poked and prodded. You will have three and a half pints of blood removed weekly. This is to test if you are strong enough to be a parent. You will have your genes evaluated thoroughly. Oh, if you want to find out if any of that awful stuff they found out about you through taking all your blood will effect your kids, you'll need to pay at least $4K extra for that, and insurance companies won't cover it. If you are fortunate enough to be the grubling incubator, you will have strangers sticking strange, cold instruments into your vagina every two to four days until they can be sure that you are pregnant.

You will be warned about 5,000 times that you are likely to have multiples. You will be advised not to do so. You will be advised to risk having quadruplets to assure a single baby. You will be advised against large numeral multiples. You will be warned that even with one embryo implanted you are likely to have twins. You will be advised against implanting only one embryo. You must pretend to understand every step of this.

If you are male, you will need to have your blood drawn and pee in a cup.

Step four: Put your goos together.
Fertility centers and hospitals do not like each other. They're like jungle cats, very territorial. Therefore, figuring out how to transfer your semen to your clinic is your job. Step one, ask your clinic. They will tell you that you need to talk to you hospital and then call them again. You will then call the hospital, arrange a time during which you can pick up the semen, and are told to call your clinic back to arrange for transporting said semen. You schedule your lease of the liquid nitrogen tank for the removal of specimen from location A and deposit of said specimen at location B. You call the clinic again, and arrange to pick up the tank.

Now, ladies, the time has come for your shots. Over and over and over again. Two weeks to make sure you don't ovulate, then four weeks to make sure you can bear your husband a small army (or at least a baseball team). While you are on these medications your internal girly bits will swell, so no exercise. And if I didn't mention it before, no sex!

After all your shots, the egg retrieval. This is a relatively minor procedure.  A doctor will lull you into a false sense of security, and then use a ten inch long needle to perforate your vagina.  Chances are good that if you are not unconscious, you will wish to be.

Step five: Get knocked up.
Well, you've got eggs, you've got semen, and you have them in the same room. But as we all know from high school health class, the same room isn't close enough. A very highly trained doctor will pour them into the same dish. And God makes a baby.

Three to five days later, the embryo will be reimplanted into your belly. You will need to be on antibiotics, because as you know kids are covered in germs. Ten months later your life can go back to normal.


Congratulations! It is now safe to put your pants back on.

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